Dear friends in Christ,
This weekend, we celebrate Independence Day, which is not only a national holiday but also a kind of secular feast day, marking the center of summer. It is also one of the major feasts of the church year.
I’m aware that it signifies many things, and I hope we can celebrate each of them.
On the one hand, Independence Day celebrates individual liberty, which is a value enshrined in our founding documents. Each human being has the God-given freedom of self-determination. And this freedom is easy to celebrate on a holiday weekend. Away from work, we can choose the activities that mean the most of us and spend our time how we choose—creativity, play, and (I hope) worship.
But Independence Day also celebrates the shared values that underscore and make possible individual liberty. It celebrates what we might call interdependence—the way in which we are called to use our freedom for the good of others. I hope we will honor this meaning, as well, as we think about the responsibility we have for mutual care.
Right now, we are all tired—from the pandemic, from political turmoil, simply from change. We need to rest, and I encourage you to rest. But that rest is in part to equip us for the work that waits for us—the work of service, love, and transformation.
So celebrate this weekend—celebrate that liberty that is ours now, and celebrate the justice that is ours to work towards in the days and months to come.
Yours in Christ,